Old Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Renovated in Lingfield


This is the first of two visits I made to a property in Lingfield, East Surrey which had some very old features including a Pamment tiled hallway and a 200-year-old stone Fireplace. In both cases the owner had made an attempt at restoring them before deciding to give up and call in Tile Doctor.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey

For this article I’m going to focus on the Pamment tiles which like Terracotta are made from Clay and are a common flooring material in Norfolk and Suffolk. We don’t usually see Pamment tiles in Surrey however Lingfield is a very old village where the Church dates to the 14th century so you never know what you’re going to find.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey

Cleaning Pamment Tiles

I started with the job by scrubbing the Pamment tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a heavy-duty cleaner/stripper designed for removing coatings from stone, tile and grout. The product was applied and left to soak into the tile and grout for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum.

Next step was to give the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is applied using the same method as before. Acid washing a tiled floor removes mineral deposits such as alkaline salts from efflorescence and will also take off thin grout smears that can ruin the look of a tiled floor. Once this was done and the soil removed the floor was washed down with clean water to ensure all the acid was removed and the floor neutralised.

You can see from the photographs that the grouting between the tiles had failed in areas, so this was replaced to ensure the floor was structurally sound. After cleaning up the floor it was then left to dry out thoroughly for a few days.

Sealing Pamment Tiles

On my return to do the sealing I first checked the floor had dried sufficiently with a damp meter, we never recommend sealing a damp floor as this can cause problems with the sealer curing leading to patchy results. All was well and for this floor I decided on applying a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal first which seeps into the pores of the tile and adds a base layer of protection. This was then followed up with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds the final layer of protection and enhances the look of the tile to leave a nice subtle sheen.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey

The work took two days in all and as you can see the floor now looks transformed and will be much easier to maintain going forward.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey

GET THE LOOK – Pamment Tiled Flooring

If you like the rustic look a Pamment tiled floor brings to a property, then there are several UK suppliers who still retail these tiles including Norfolk Pamments and Antique Style Flooring. Also consider searching eBay, Gumtree and reclamation yards for second hand floors for restoration.

 

Clay Pamment Tiled Floor Renovated in East Surrey



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Flood Damaged Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Rescued in Docking


Luckily for this client in the village of Docking in Norfolk, the water pipe under her kitchen sink burst the day before she left for a four-week holiday in the USA, so at least she was able to turn the water off at the mains and minimise the damage before leaving for the airport… every cloud, as they say!

On her return she found that the Terracotta tiled flooring had dried out perfectly but unfortunately, the acrylic sealer had suffered badly as the evaporating moisture came up through it and the entire surface of the floor had developed a milky-white bloom. Our client thought that complete replacement of the whole floor, which ran from a large kitchen diner through to a long utility room with separate storage cupboards and a WC would be the only option. Fortunately, before investigating that expensive option she gave Tile Doctor a call in the hope that the floor could be saved.

Large Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Docking

Deep Cleaning Water Damaged Terracotta Floor Tiles

In order to remove the damaged acrylic sealer, we applied a strong dilution (1:2) of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with a little Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed in along with a small amount of honing powder using our 17″ rotary machine fitted with a medium nylon brush before being power rinsed and extracted to remove all the chemicals and resulting slurry.

The grout lines, corners and edges where the original sealer had been applied more thickly were then further cleaned by hand with Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU Remover, HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and this is a useful product for tackling stubborn areas.

The floor was then finished off with very fine honing powder applied with water and a black scrubbing pad before being rinsed and extracted again. Finally, the whole floor was acid washed with Tile Doctor Acid Gel to neutralise all remaining cleaning agents and counter act any efflorescence salts which may appear in the future before being left to dry thoroughly overnight with the assistance of our dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles in Docking

On our return the following day, the floor was thoroughly damp tested and found to have dried extremely well enabling us to start applying the new sealer straight away. The client had specified a muted shine surface for her floor, so we chose to use Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta is made from clay which is quite a porous material so seven coats were needed to completely seal the floor. This would provide optimum fluid resistance along with the mid-sheen finish she had requested.

Here’s what the client had to say when we’d finished:

I am delighted with the work carried out. The terracotta tile floor of my kitchen was in a terrible state following a flood and it has been restored to an excellent condition. A very professional and personal service which I am happy to recommend.

Large Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Docking

 

Renovating Terracotta Floor Tiles in Norfolk



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Dirty Terracotta Floor Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Hales


How the Terracotta floor tiles at this property in the Village of Hales, Norfolk became quite so comprehensively dirty in so short a time, we will never know. We were contacted by the new owner, a lady who had become so distressed by the state of the floor in the house she had recently bought that she was seriously considering ripping up the entire area of tiling and replacing it. Remarkable particularly because the property had been restored only a couple of years ago, the kitchen and hallway being laid with new terracotta tiles.

The entire surface was deeply ingrained with soiling and the pointing lines were filthy, despite there being evidence of some kind of topical sealer having been applied at the time of installation. It quickly became obvious during testing that the sealer had been applied very sparingly and had mostly worn away, leaving a badly compromised fluid and soiling resistance with a dull and dirty finish which refused to clean up when mopped.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Hales

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

The tiles turned out to be made of a fairly soft terracotta which meant that we were able to deep-clean them extremely effectively using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (one part Pro-Clean to two parts water). A strong dilution was required to remove what remained of the old sealer in the less used areas and strip the surface back to the bare tile.

The Pro-Clean was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being worked in using our heavy rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The resulting slurry being power rinsed and vacuumed away with our 400psi Ninja machine. All the dirt and virtually all of the old sealer was removed at this stage; the remaining patches around the edges of the area being finished by hand with a 200-grit hand-held burnishing block. The pointing lines were then cleaned by hand with neat Pro-Clean and an angled grout brush.

Finally, the deep-seated oil stains in front of the cooker were brought out using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which was left to dwell on the marks for an hour before being agitated with a diamond burnishing pad and rinsed away with the Ninja machine. The floor was then left to dry thoroughly overnight with assistance from our dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

Owing to the softness and consequently high porosity of the substrate, we realised that it could take up to ten coats or more of our chosen sealer in order to achieve the level of shine our client had requested so that the daily mopping would be effective.

Our usual solution to enable us to complete the work in one day would be to apply a coat of penetrating Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the tiles first, followed by up to five coats of topical sealer which would provide the finish, but because our client loved the new lighter colour of the cleaned tiles, Colour Grow was not an option as it is designed to enrich and thereby slightly darken the colour.

The solution therefore was to apply a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which, like Colour Grow, is a solvent-based penetrating sealer but doesn’t alter the colour of the material. This was followed by five coats of Seal & Go to further improve the fluid resistance and provide the mid-sheen finish required.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Hales

At the end of the job we had a very happy client whose actual words were: “thank you so much for restoring my faith in my floor!”
 
 

Renovating Terracotta Floor Tiles in Norfolk



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Terracotta Tiled Church Floor Renovated in Eaton Village


St Andrews church serves a large congregation in Eaton Village which is located just outside the city of Norwich on the south side. A sizeable extension was built onto the old church in the 1980s to accommodate the ever-increasing number of people wanting to attend and it was in this part of the building where a problem had developed with the Terracotta tiled flooring.

The tiles chosen by the architect were made from a surprisingly soft terracotta clay which had been sealed with an oil-based product (probably Osmo Polyx Oil or similar) but the coating generally had worn away badly, particularly along the main foot traffic lane up the aisle to the altar. The overall appearance was extremely tired and dull with wide lanes of ground-in dirt.

The clients asked us to clean the floor and replace the thin oil finish with something more durable and easy to maintain.

Terracotta Floor Tiles Before Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Church Tiles

Our first job was to remove the now very patchy finish and deep-clean the entire surface of the floor. This was achieved using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean mixed with a generous quantity of Tile Doctor Remove & Go. The combined solution was left to soak into the Terracotta tile and grout for about twenty minutes before being agitated with a green scrubbing pad fitted to our rotary machine. The tile was so soft I felt that a black pad would probably have been too harsh and may have damaged some of the religious symbols which had been moulded into a number of individual tiles.

The resulting clay, dirt and sealer slurry was then power rinsed and vacuumed away with our Ninja machine. These machines force hot water under high pressure onto the floor and then extracts the resulting soiled water away with suction. It was an expensive investment for the company, but it certainly makes work like this much easier.

Any remaining soiling in the grout lines was removed by hand using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a more powerful but manageable gel form of Pro Clean. Also, there were a few really stubborn areas in the corners where the oil finish had pooled and hardened during application. To deal with these and completely remove the shiny patches it was necessary to use a 100-grit hand-held diamond block.

After a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product the whole floor was left to dry off overnight, assisted by two industrial fans and a commercial dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Church Tiles in Eaton village

On returning to the church after the previous day’s cleaning, we spot tested the tiles across the whole floor area and found that the fans and dehumidifier had done their job and the substrate was easily dry enough to accept a sealer. We knew that a damp proof membrane had been laid under the floor at the point of installation, so moisture ingress wasn’t going to be a problem. What was an issue however was the high porosity of the clay tile now that it had been stripped of ingrained dirt and the old sealer.

I usually apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go to Terracotta tiles as it leaves the floor with an attractive subtle sheen, however we realised that the floor would probably soak up around a dozen coats or more if applied directly. With this in mind we decided to start with the application of two base coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a penetrating sealer that would occupy the pores of the Terracotta tile, protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colour of the clay at the same time. This was then followed by six coats of Seal and Go which enabled us to achieve the desired level of durability and sheen.

Terracotta Floor Tiles After Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

When we had finished the work, this is what the client had to say:

“After careful consideration of several contractors, it was decided that Nicholas White provided the most sympathetic solution to our flooring needs and at a competitive price. The work was completed as promised with minimum fuss. At all times Nicholas and his staff worked in a professional manner and were totally respectful of their sensitive surroundings.

We were very satisfied with the final work and would have no hesitation in recommending this contractor to other potential clients. J Holmes, Warden St Andrews Eaton.”
 
 

Terracotta Church Floor Renovation in Norfolk



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Edwardian Clay Tile Front Pathway in Barnet


As you can see this Clay Tiled Pathway laid during the Edwardian period at the front of a house in Barnet, North London had suffered over the years and now had many broken and cracked tiles along the path. The concrete foundation had seen some movement in the past leading to a crack forming right across which had either cracked the tile or caused them to become loose.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning

To restore the path to its original condition would require removing all the broken and loose tiles and then relaying with matching replacements and grout giving particular attention to the detailed edging pattern. Fortunately, having done a few of these jobs before I have learned where to find replacements and often keep an eye on salvage yards and ebay.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Repairing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The first job was to remove ingrained dirt and old coatings by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go across the entire length of the pathway. Remove and Go as its name suggests breaks down and strips off the old sealers as well as dislodging ingrained dirt. It was scrubbed in and then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next some of the tiles which had experienced particularly stubborn staining were given an Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which removes old grout smears and mineral salts deposits which is often referred to as efflorescence. Acid Gel neutralises the alkaline salts and once scrubbed in it was removed using the wet vacuum.

Once the dirt and efflorescence had been dealt with, I focused my attention towards the tile repairs starting with the removal of the broken and loose tiles so I could get at the cracked sub-base and repair it. Once the repair had hardened I was able to relay the path using a mixture of exiting and replacement tiles taking care to match the original pattern. Before leaving for the day the tile adhesive had gone off and I was able to grout them in using a matching grout. I had also checked the weather forecast to ensure no rain was forecast that evening.

Sealing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The weather held and the following day with a freshly cleaned and repaired path I was able to finish the job by applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really brings out the natural colours in the clay tile. Once the sealer had dried I ran a white buffing pad over the path to give it that final finish before showing it to the owner of the property who I’m happy to report was extremely pleased with the result.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet After Cleaning

I should mention that when choosing a Sealer for an external application it’s important to choose one which is fully breathable and can cope with the wet conditions.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Pathway and Edwardian Tiled Hallway Restored in Palmers Green



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